A broken index finger is a nightmare for any guitarist, yet, in one way, it facilitated a dream come true for White Stripes frontman Jack White.
"I got to work with Loretta Lynn, producing her album in Nashville," White told MTV Radio in his typically sedate, emotion-free tone. "She wanted to make one final album, and I put my name in, and they let me have a chance at it. It worked out really well. Me and Loretta have become pretty good friends since last year, and I think we work together really well" (see "White Stripes Meet The Coal Miner's Daughter At New York Show").
White busted his finger on July 9 in a car accident in Detroit when he was making a left turn and another car ran a red light and struck the side of his automobile (see "White Stripes' Jack White Injures Finger In Car Accident").
"The airbag broke my finger when it deployed," White said. "Maybe I would have been better off without an airbag. But I wasn't too freaked out. I was OK with it. It was one of those things where your mind acclimates to whatever the situation is. It just sort of upset me that I had to stop touring and I couldn't write music or play guitar or piano."
The injury required surgery, then the finger was put in a cast. Recently the cast was removed, and White is expected to be able to play guitar by the end of September. White posted a clip of his finger surgery on the band's Web site to prove to skeptics that he had, indeed, broken his finger. Since drummer Meg had fractured her left wrist four months before, some people thought Jack's injury was a publicity stunt, and others feared the White Stripes were trying to get out of playing scheduled shows in Europe. Also, White liked the look of the medical footage.
"I've always been interested in those things," he said. "I always watch surgery documentaries on TV, and I just thought it was an interesting little film on its own because they were playing White Stripes music in the operating room. You see their face, then them opening the finger up, drilling screws in it, then the X-ray, and at the end he said it was beautiful. I just thought it was cool."
The White Stripes weren't entirely inactive while White was healing. The band worked on a video for "The Hardest Button to Button" with Michel Gondry, who lensed the acclaimed Stripes vids for "Fell in Love With a Girl" and "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground." In the clip, filmed in New York, the band plays the song, and around every four seconds they are transported closer to the camera, leaving a drum kit behind. The video will air in September.
"It's the greatest video we've ever made," White boasted, a sound resembling excitement entering his voice. "I think it's one of the greatest videos ever made. Michel Gondry is so brilliant and such a child at the same time. He's so perfect and I love the way he works and nobody gets in his way. I can't stop watching it. I've watched it 50 times, probably."
White seems somewhat less enthused about a different video that was shot by Sofia Coppola for the British single "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself." In the black-and-white clip, supermodel Kate Moss dances on a stripper's pole to the music.
"I don't have much to say about it," White diplomatically said. "It was completely Sofia Coppola's idea and I don't really have a comment on it."
The song and video will be released in the U.S. after "Hardest Button to Button" has run its course.